April 29 ~  Nothing Surprises You If Winning Were Easy

"You've got to believe you can win. But I believe respect for the fact that you can lose is what you always have to keep in mind so that nothing surprises you." ~ Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi

An eight-time Grand Slam tournament champion, tennis legend Andre Kirk Agassi (1970-) was born on this day in Las Vegas, Nevada. The son of an Iranian-born Olympic boxer, young Andre began playing tennis at age three and turned pro at age 16.

Charismatic and passionate, the right-handed Agassi won Wimbledon in 1992 and the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1999. He once said: "If I don't do what I need to do to win, I won't win, no matter who is on the other side of the net."

Competitive and agile, Agassi dazzled his opponents with outstanding groundstrokes and an exceptional ability to return serves. A man driven by perfection, Agassi won the Australian Open in 1995, 2000, 2001, and 2003.

"It has meant a lot to me to challenge the best players in the world and to beat them. And it means a lot to me to be out here and fighting for the title and, you know, it hurts not to win it," he said.

Agassi serves it up off the court, too. Following a high-profile marriage to actress Brooke Sheilds, he married tennis star Steffi Graf in 2001. His on-going commitment to the Andre Agassi Foundation (1994) has raised milllions for at-risk (underprivileged, abused, and abandoned) youth.

"I really feel good about myself, and it leads me to feel excited about what lies ahead," he said.

Respect...and celebrate...that anything can happen.